Chinese heritage group boycotts RIBA award for Hadid’s Galaxy Soho

A heritage group in Beijing has written an open letter to the Royal Institute of British Architects saying it is “disappointed and concerned” that Zaha Hadid’s Galaxy Soho complex has been  nominated to win the RIBA International Award.

 Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Centre labeled Hadid’s 330,000m2 retail, office and entertainment complex as a “typical unfortunate example [of] the destruction of Beijing old town.”

 The letter also stated: “The Galaxy Soho project has violated a number of heritage preservation laws and regulations. It has caused great damafe to the preservation of the old Beijing streetscape, the original urban plan, [and] the traditional Hutong and courtyard houses.”

 The group advised RIBA to “have a deeper understanding of the current situation in modern Chinese society,” claiming that the award could encourage developers and authorities to continue destructinf cultural heritage sites which, the letter mentions, has been a “common offense” in China.

 Hadid’s building is one of the three projects nominated for this year’s prize along with Gardens by the Bay by Grant Associates and Wilkinson Eyre Architects in Singapore as well as a housing project in New York by Dattner Architects and Grimshaw.